How to Install Cabinet Hardware

A pro shows how to install handles, knobs and other kitchen cabinet hardware

Get it right the first time

There's more to installing kitchen cabinet hardware than drilling holes and screwing on knobs and pulls. Whether you're installing hardware on brand new cabinets or replacing the hardware in a 100-year-old kitchen, think before you drill. Cabinets are expensive, and they look a whole lot better without extra holes. We asked Jerome Worm for some tips on how to install the “jewelry of the kitchen” — cabinet knobs, pull and other hardware. Use these tips to help your next install go quicker and with fewer mistakes.

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Use the door rail as a guide

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Temporarily attach the hardware

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Templates make the job easier

If you have more than a few knobs or pulls to install, use a template when you install cabinet hardware. A template makes the job go faster, increases uniformity and reduces the chance for mistakes. The Liberty Cabinet and Drawer Installation Templates shown here cost under $10 at a home center.

If you install a lot of hardware, buy a pro version like the one Jerome is using in the lead photo above. That's an EZ-JIG EZ1000. It's adjustable and has steel grommets where you insert the drill bit. You can get one for about $35 at hardware4less.com.

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Cover unused holes with tape

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Hide old holes with back plates

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Super-glue the knob

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Make a simple drawer template

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Two-sided templates prevent tear-out

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Use thread sealant to keep the screws tight

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Mix putty to match

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Don't install hardware in front of the sink

The false drawer directly in front of the sink may look naked without any hardware, but it's not very comfortable getting poked by a knob in your midsection every time you lean over the sink.

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Install hardware higher on the lowest drawer

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Take old hardware to the store

Not every pull is the same size, and not every cabinet door/drawer is the same thickness. If you have the old hardware with you at the store, you'll be able to tell the size of the pulls you need as well as the length of screws required.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Cordless drill
  • Tape measure
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Awl
  • Drill bit set

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Adhesive putty
  • Cabinet and drawer templates
  • Masking tape
  • Super glue
  • Thread sealant
  • Colored putty
  • Cabinet hardware